We start out as children and young adults learning and following the footsteps of those that came before us. They made it possible for us to exist! Now it’s my turn to create my own imprint and footprints for the next generation to follow; to trust my inner wisdom; to acknowledge with gratitude all the facets of life. When I’m unsure or the path seems misguided and leading me off course, if I get still enough, the path gets illuminated before me and I can be the guidepost for those that will follow in my footsteps.
I spent the weekend on a mindfulness for mothers retreat at Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, CT. I had so many amazing insights and breakthroughs, which can only happen when we slow down and retreat. I wrote a lot in my journal. I took full advantage of all the yoga and meditation workshops. I kept my iPhone in the drawer in my private room and I went within. The group was led by Hunter Clarke-Fields, the mindful mama mentor. You can listen to her podcast and take advantage of her free resources at: https://www.mindfulmamamentor.com/
We were a small group of nine mamas. I learned new tools and tips for my mindfulness journey. Mindfulness and meditation are not an attempt to strive, self-improve, or add to my day as another to-do. In this retreat I was reminded about my why. Why do I meditate and do yoga most days? It gives me freedom and a sense of relief, as simple and profound as that.
As the retreat was coming to a close, I still hadn’t visited the labyrinth. So it was my own personal closing ceremony to integrate the group sharing and insights. I was alone. It had snowed the day before and I had to follow the footprints that led to the labyrinth. The path in the labyrinth was gravel and not shoveled. I saw footprints in all directions within it. I was able to find the path and stay the course. At one point because of the snow, I was unsure how to get to the center. When I got still, I saw that no one had gone right and when I did, I was back on the path. My gatha or mantra came to me in the center of the labyrinth: “Peace with this, Peace within me.” I am ready to be the guidepost for those that will follow my footsteps.
Who knows? We put so much energy and attention focused on the future: planning, striving, endless to-do’s and tasks that we lose the entire weekend. My word this year is “Linger.” And even I need a reminder. I get future-tripped up in the anticipation of an upcoming retreat, a potential job opportunity, or perfecting my dream vision that my energy gets sapped from the here and now. How can I linger over this cup of coffee when I’m all prepared for an event that might not happen at all?
There is no refund or credit on that time and energy spent and now it all comes down to the wire. Will I get it or not? And how can I prevent my energy from being wasted again in the future? Do I need a grounding mantra that will gently nudge myself before I get full-on lost in thought, planning, fuming, etc. on whatever it is?
And this happens when I get stuck on past events too. I replay and rehash them. I imagine scenarios with a different outcome and my correct and witty response. I make excuses to myself to relieve the miserableness, horror or embarrassment of it all.
Is it just me?
I’ve been reading “Eat With Intention” by Cassandra Bodzak. I was feeling inspired one morning at breakfast. And I created this mindful eating mantra:
May I be nourished
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I feel satisfied
May I feel energized
May I feel complete
So simple. It grounded me to look at my oatmeal, to pause and take a few breaths, and not just devour the food but to savor a few moments.
And that’s all we really have right now: Just a few moments. To be here in the moment. To observe, pause, and try not to change it. To avoid the urge to pick up my iPhone. It’s so easy to distract myself.
If only we could savor those moments. Life is brief. I know my kids will be grown and out of the house in a blink of an eye. The baby/infant days are now toddler moments. And nursings have been replaced with morning cuddles. How I savor them. I try not to rush to the next thing to get ready for school and work. And at the end of the day, while my toddler reads her books, I enjoy playful imaginations with Legos, My Little Ponies, and the like with my 6 year old. I am grateful that she still wants to play with me.
I suppose my mantra for mindful eating can be transformed to all the moments:
May I be present
May I be loving
May I share joy
May I feel gratitude
May I feel loved
May I feel joy
I’m going to use this mantra of loving kindness this weekend. They always seem to fly by so quickly.
May we all savor the moments.